Fabio Ceccarelli is an elegant, extremely ecletic accordionist, an all-round musician, hopelessly in love with the theatrical world. With this interview he tells about the most important experiences of his life as an artist.
In your brilliant career you have had the honour and the privilege of collaborating, among others, with high-sounding names of world music, such as: Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovajoli, Riz Ortolani, Franco Piersanti, Luis Bacalov, Nicola Piovani. From the artistic and human point of view, what lesson did you really learn from them?
I can’t help but tell a little story. One of the very first times when I was in the recording room (Forum Music Village in Rome) to play a soundtrack with M° Nicola Piovani, playing a “colour” that he needed, I tried to put all the notes in it, at maximum speed. But he said to me: “Signor Ceccarelli, a semibreve is enough for me, which together with my gesture must start very softly, grow and then reduce”. This happened almost 30 years ago. All the international competitions won, in addition to the 2nd place at the World Accordion Championship (in Switzerland, in 1984), did not help much. From that moment on I was starting to really make the musician.
You create a certain syncretism between music and theatre, your artistic qualities and famous actors as Glauco Mauri, Leo Gullotta, Valeria Moriconi, Gigi Proietti, Piera Degli Esposti, Luca Zingaretti. Specifically, in this capacity did you collaborate with these artists?
In those years (beginning of the 90s), I started working in the theatre, in a world that I knew not so much and then I fell in love. My task consisted, as still, in accompanying these extraordinary actors emphasizing the prose with musical arguments, almost always on stage with the artists on the stage. I worked very hard and I learnt a lot from them, even without ever having worked at a theatre school. Over time I managed to write an original music for some shows, a cooperation on the direction of others and in some cases an interpretation of small parts as an actor. Very funny! More than another employer, one of the most important song composer of Italian theatre: Germano Mazzocchetti, he is also known as an excellent accordionist.
You have performed in some of the best Italian theatres, including: Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Auditorium di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Teatro Caio Melisso (Spoleto), Teatro Comunale di Ferrara. Do you feel this place as your natural habitat or do you prefer to hold concerts in other environments and environments?
When I’m in the theatre I feel at home, however, what I’m doing. Of course, with some of my projects as Tetrachorus, I love playing in small clubs, jazz clubs or music festivals. Sometimes, I also really like playing. It was very interesting when I played on the sidewalk of a street or in a shop window of a dear friend.
As an accordionist and flautist you have taken part in several television programs, for example: Novecento, Festival di Sanremo, Passo Doppio, Premio David di Donatello, Premio Barocco. Your opinion, today, what are the positive effects of TV?
Here the speech becomes complicated. If we want to talk about the effects of TV on human beings, perhaps we risk extending too much. Obviously, as well as in the field of music, apart from some niche products, the television follows modern times. The age of “fast” and not of calm, reflection, the search for real talents, the enhancement of particularities. The models to follow are a bit restrictive. There is unrest, especially among young people, the desire to change, to research. We hope well.
You shared the recording studio with some celebrities of Italian pop, including: Francesco De Gregori, Ron, Luca Barbarossa, Iva Zanicchi. Do you think the accordion in this musical genre can be a very important concern for you?
The accordion must occupy a prominent place and it is already doing so, also thanks to many very valid colleagues who have used and used the instrument to embellish the work of valid singers. Definitely a great improvement compared to the past, when the accordion was relegates to cover only certain roles: folk instrument or to dance. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it should not be played very well even in those genres.
You are a particularly eclectic accordionist, ranging from a plethora of musical styles. But there is one that more artistically represents you?
I don’t know. I consider my instrument absolutely complete, 360 degrees. I have always done a mission of my work: introduce the accordion to the world in all its facets, the infinite possibilities, not be second to any instrument, the possibility of using it in any musical genre. I started my studies playing Bach, but I also practiced a lot of dance music to live, as well as tango, French and Jewish music and much more. Recently, but I wanted to do it for some time, I discovered blues, funk and jazz music.
Given and considering your great experience, what advice could you give to a young man who wants to approach the accordion world?
Today there is the possibility of undertaking excellent academic studies, both classical and jazz music. Allow me only to give advice: the musical world that the boys must be part of is not just that of the accordion. As soon as possible it is necessary to relate to all those who play something else, who sing or dance. This will make young future accordionists the true musicians of the world, who communicate their art to others with an instrument like the accordion, like pianists, guitarists, saxophonists and so on. The relationship between accordionists should be, also thanks to a specialized magazine like Strumenti&Musica Magazine, a serene collaborative comparison, useful for the growth of everyone. But unfortunately, the attitude that I have always had to notice is very different.
In the summer you officially released a record made alongside two talented musicians like Nando Di Modugno (guitar) and Tiziano Tetro (percussion). The album is titled Camminando. Could you describe the mood of your album?
It was the crowning of a dream. A work started about three years ago with Tiziano (Tetro), a very eclectic and talented young percussionist. We have merged our experiences and this has allowed us to create this project. A record of world music, our jazz, with all the contaminations of the case. Eleven tracks, including seven unpublished ones. The addition of Nando (Di Modugno), at the time of recording the CD, was illuminating, fantastic. He is an extraordinary musician and a very dear friend. We met many years ago, during a theatrical work with Nicola Piovani.
At the moment I have not been able to present the record in the right place and way. I must also admit that I do not like to knock on all doors. I take it with philosophy: if it must happen, it will happen. In the meantime I made another CD, Fabio Ceccarelli SOLO, where I play soundtracks, classics and more. An album that I call national-popular. I’m proposing it in some recitals, with good satisfaction. Perhaps, this is the most appropriate style to summarize my work. I hope, soon, to be able to do the same with Camminando.
This article is available also in: Italian